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Old 02-22-2009, 01:41 PM   #1
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For those who own a digital voltmeter


and do not use it to make a living, how soon does this thing pay for itself in saved service calls?

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Old 02-22-2009, 02:24 PM   #2
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For those who own a digital voltmeter


since I am a pro, it is difficult to say since I do not have service calls but; meters are not expensive, unless you want to buy an expensive meter. A decent meter could pay for itself in one (1) saved service call if you know what you are looking for and at.

it is not so much having the meter but knowing what to do with it.

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Old 02-22-2009, 02:25 PM   #3
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For those who own a digital voltmeter


I'm gonna say most people dont know what to do with a meter, so it will never pay for itself.
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Old 02-22-2009, 02:34 PM   #4
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For those who own a digital voltmeter


I never considered that it would pay for itself
I use it to test wires to make sure they are off when the breaker is off. Verify voltage here & there on circuits

The only thing I have ever had a service call was the gas heater at my last house. And it was a circuit board problem
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Old 02-22-2009, 02:42 PM   #5
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For those who own a digital voltmeter


Quote:
Originally Posted by Yoyizit View Post
and do not use it to make a living, how soon does this thing pay for itself in saved service calls?
Pay for it's self? Not sure. It was well worth it to me to have Cat III meters because I was doing a bunch of testing on unfused conductors both with a multimeter and a clamp meter.

But these are things that 98% of DIY should not be doing anyway. And most people have no need for RMS meters or meters and can do inrush capture. I did happen to have some specfic reasons for getting meters with special features, as well as wanting the extra safety of a catIII meter over my old cheap meters that were not rated.

I was bound and determined to figure out all the things at my parrents house, I would not have had a problem calling in an electrical, and infact had 2 of them in from different major electrical companies. Neither of them wanted to approach the problem in a manner that we were comfortable with. So I just bought what I needed to buy and did it myself. I got the lineman to meger all the se cables for me, otherwise I would have bought a megger. Althought I don't think most people should be doing that kind of work themselves.

So for the average person, spending $20 to $40 or so on a basic meter is a good idea imo.
Most people should NOT be doing this, but If you going to be working on unfused stuff, I would not use meters that aren't cat III or better.


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Old 02-22-2009, 04:01 PM   #6
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For those who own a digital voltmeter


I have a bunch of wiggys left around but use the digital ones so I can see without my glasses. Other than that a DIYer is just trying to see if something is hot or not and it will never pay for itself over a cheaper model.
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Old 02-22-2009, 04:11 PM   #7
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For those who own a digital voltmeter


OK, so payback period depends on skill level, for sure. Zero skill = infinite payback period.

A cheap meter with necessary functions pays back quicker.
A "lo Z" function is good for house wiring but an incand. lamp loading the meter is almost as good.

Testing voltages would cost you money if you had to pay someone else to do it so each voltage tested is incrementally paying you back in tax-free dollars for the cost of the meter.

Finding out what Cat III really means is a little more difficult.

So far, so good.

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Old 02-22-2009, 04:44 PM   #8
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For those who own a digital voltmeter


To me its like asking the payback period on a hammer
Its a tool I need
I have a large Halloween & Christmas display
So a meter is a tool I use all the time
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Old 02-22-2009, 09:03 PM   #9
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For those who own a digital voltmeter


You must not be asking about a regular meter....because "paying" for itself isnt generally a reason I hear as to why someone bought one.

How would you figure out (safely) if a circuit was live? If there was a voltage drop issue, a grounding issue?

I have a couple of meters, but generally just use my digital clamp on meter. I think it was $90.
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Old 02-22-2009, 09:32 PM   #10
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For those who own a digital voltmeter


I have mine for personal projects. Like when I need to find pinouts on equipment, shorts, etc.
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Old 02-23-2009, 11:45 AM   #11
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For those who own a digital voltmeter


I go through this when making the decision to buy (or rent) any tool.

FYI - If you don't know how to use a tool, then no reason to buy it unless you are willing to learn.

Anyway will I use the tool just once? What is the cost to pay a pro to do the work vs my buying the tool?

Maybe the tool costs thousands of dollars and I will only use it 3 times in my lifetime and I can rent it for $100 each time I need it. Then I rent.

Or if something I will use a lot, then it will be cheaper in the long run to buy it?

As to a multimeter, I have two and use them a LOT. I could not live without them! But then I know how to use them.

As to an engine hoist to pull my engine out of my truck, I don't know how to rebuild an engine and would probably mess it up. And would need to use it maybe only 2 or 4 times in my life. So I don't own one and pay the pros to do the work instead.
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Old 02-23-2009, 12:05 PM   #12
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For those who own a digital voltmeter


I rarely use my meter in a house.
I troubleshoot with a hot stick and wiggys.
I use my amprobe more than my digital meter.
Thats not to say(before anyone else has a chance) that I have never used my meter.
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Old 02-23-2009, 05:16 PM   #13
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For those who own a digital voltmeter


Digital meter is around $20, I mean doesn't have to be a Fluke or HP right?
I work on cars also so it's good to check resistance and voltage drop of DC signals.

For AC wiring I actually don't know what to do besides flipping to the VAC tab and look for 120 or 240V, I only use to see which wire is live after I removed the outlet or switch..
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Old 02-23-2009, 05:37 PM   #14
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For those who own a digital voltmeter


I bought a cheapo meter from Harbor Freight for $3 several years ago. I would say that it has paid for itself several times over.
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Old 02-23-2009, 06:18 PM   #15
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For those who own a digital voltmeter


Quote:
Originally Posted by martyshel View Post
I bought a cheapo meter from Harbor Freight for $3 several years ago. I would say that it has paid for itself several times over.
That is absolutely the lowest price for a new meter that I ever heard of, but I am otherwise not too fond of Harbor Freight.

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